Monday, October 1, 2012

October Horror Challenge 2012 - Day 1

Ah, October, the best month of the year is here yet again and that means horror movies all month long. My fun started a couple of days early in getting to meet the beautiful Asia Argento at the Monster Mania Convention. The show got me really excited for some horror fun and meeting her was a dream come true.

The film to start of the challenge was KURONEKO. I'd been holding on to this disc for a few months after buying it during a Criterion sale. This is a beautifully directed and photographed tale of vengeance and love centered around Japanese folklore. The Criterion Blu-Ray looks pretty nice and the thick atmosphere surrounding the ghosts made it a perfect start to the month.

Next up was a pair of movies on another disc I'd been waiting to watch. First was THE DRIVE-IN MASSACRE, billed on the case as "the first splatter film". This slasher from 1977 is completely and utterly un-noteworthy and is a complete waste of time. The performances aren't bad as they should be for this low budget affair and there is one scene early in the movie that has a cool kill but other than that its a disaster. 74 minutes feel like 2 hours and much of the 3rd act has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie.

The 2nd feature on the disc was a movie I'd been wanting to see for a long time but never got to it- Abel Ferrara's THE DRILLER KILLER. This was a grimy piece of exploitation horror that I'd like to see a better looking copy of. This double feature DVD from Grind Global Media is total shit, on both features. Dark scenes are a mess and compression is among the heaviest I've seen. Colors are washed out beyond belief and the audio has to fight with hissing and cracking. Despite the shortcomings of this cheapo public domain disc this film was solid in it's delivery and execution. Abel Ferrara also stars in the film as a man being driven to the edge by his surroundings- roommates, neighbors, bill collectors, the city itself. There is also no shortage of gore here.

I got suckered into PAINTBALL by the title. I used to play the sport all of the time and still love it even though I haven't played in years. I figured a horror movie mixed with one of the games I love couldn't be all bad. Well there's about 6 seconds of paintball and the rest is a rather typical stalk and slash through the woods affair with a twist ending you can see coming a mile away. It's a harmless movie that was just unremarkable.

The 5th film of the day was one that a friend mentioned to me a few months back and made me want to see it, SATAN'S SLAVE. This is a British film starring Michael Gough and while being a bit slow is well acted by the entire cast and has a few moments that will stand out in your memory. A very good story of a girl who moves in to a distant uncle's home after her family perish in a car fire only to find out that her relatives are in a Satanic cult and have plans for her to be offered like Camilla. As I mentioned the cast and a few standout moments really carry this film but it is good on the whole and I will have to look into the special edition DVD.

My hard drive has been filling up with random movies that I haven't gotten around to watching so I decided to pick one and watch it. KILLDOZER was the selection, a made-for-TV movie from 1974. As you can probably decipher from the title, this is about a killer bulldozer. The machine came in contact with a meteorite and then gets a mind of its own and it likes to kill. Nothing great but I really do miss the days when made-for-TV movies had this much personality.

Ohhhh Jess Franco... sometimes you can make entertaining cheese and sleaze like Faceless and other times you make NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT. This film will drain you with its incessant nagging characters, stupid narration and go-nowhere pacing that consumes 95% of the film. Franco's trademark direction i.e. totally random panning and zoom-ins for no reason are on full display here. Luckily so is the film's only saving grace- the beautiful women who are naked more often than not. That isn't enough to keep this film from being a total piece of shit, nor is the ending that you can guess just from hearing a brief synopsis of the film. The points this film gets will be solely for the eye candy.

I needed a break after that one, and decided it was time for my first re-watch. I wanted something fun and familiar and THE GATE instantly caught my eye on the shelf. This flick has everything from demonologist metal bands to zombies and claymation demons trying to take over the world. If you've never seen this one and are looking for a fun horror movie I highly suggest it. This did the trick to get me back in the mood for tomorrow.

Today's Rundown
Kuroneko - 8.5/10
The Drive-In Massacre - 2.5/10
The Driller Killer - 7/10
Paintball - 4.5/10
Satan's Slave - 7.5/10
Killdozer - 5/10
Nightmares Come At Night - 2/10
The Gate - 8.5/10


DethRabbit3K said...

That's a LOT of movies for one day! BTW, I'm joining you on your month-long horror viewing by trying to do 50 horror movies I've never seen. If I make it, I'll be proud; If I don't, I'll have a hell of a lot of fun. Driller Killer is pretty awesome, but there are a lot of shitty copies floating around. I'd be interested to see a decent copy myself. Every time I've tried to watch Drive-In Massacre I fell asleep. I guess that says something about it. And The Gate is classic. Right up there with Monster Squad as one of my favorite horror movies when I was a kid.

Stadanko said...

Asia <3